Battles, Campaigns & Other Thoughts

I have been reflecting this week on the role of one-off games, historical refights and linked games. While the following has a Napoleonic and American Civil War references I see the concept as equally applicable to Ancient warfare through to the Cold War.

Regular readers will recall the American Civil War 160th anniversary series recently played. That is, six major historical battles all played in sequence. Casualties in one battle didn’t influence the next, but in some ways I likened it to being something of a campaign, though without all the hard work that comes with a campaign. The down side with such an intensive historical series is there was much terrain to be built, often in a short space of time between historical battles. Indeed, I completely failed to grasp the work required. The net result being my planned miniature painting for the year has suffered. Despite that, the project was extremely satisfying and I plan to repeat it in some form, though with different battles.

The next idea was to fight a small series of games leading to a larger game. Free from the restraints imposed by historical terrain fictional encounters seemed to offer less work. This series is also now complete. My cunning plan was to play two smaller encounters first before ending the series with a larger game with all set in 1813. The first involved the Prussians and Russians engaged against the French at the Battle of Aulzhausen in August 1813, shown below. This was a typical Friday evening game with the situation generated by a scenario system we use.

The second battle found the Prussians and Russians again engaged at the Battle of Zollengen, now set in early October 1813. Again no casualties were carried over.

The final battle of the series was that of the Battle of Kleindorf set in the middle of October 1813. This last game found Austrians, Russians and Prussians engaged against the French. While also a fictional the situation was influenced by that south of Leipzig and would result in well over 3,000 miniatures deployed and shown here.

I was pleased with the concept and how it played out. While I didn’t advertise it as a series of linked games to the players, it was my intent as is evident to the reader referencing the supposed battle dates. I think there is some merit in exploring mechanisms to enhance these games further. But what mechanisms should I consider?

The first and most obvious is casualties from one game feeding in to the next. However, I am nervous that will add too much complexity and potentially distract from the concept of an enjoyable game at the end of a busy week. The next is the outcome of a game influencing where the next battle will be fought. As I write this I am pondering the battles that made up the series of engagements between the French and their allies against the Austrians in 1809. The result of one battle influencing the location of the next.

Clearly more thought is required on my part. I wonder if others have experimented with such concepts and what worked, or indeed what didn’t?

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